Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Five things we learnt from the Labour conference

How events unfolded on Monday at the gathering in Liverpool.

Delegates at Labour party’s annual conference at the Arena and Convention Centre (ACC), in Liverpool. (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Delegates at Labour party’s annual conference at the Arena and Convention Centre (ACC), in Liverpool. (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Here are five things we learnt from the second day of Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool:

– Labour is no longer afraid of the S-word.

For years, under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, it was the creed that dare not speak its name, and even under Ed Miliband there was a certain awkwardness about using the word “socialism”.

But such reticence is all over now, as John McDonnell received roars of approval as he told the conference: “We are ready to build the future and we’ll be proud to call that future socialism.”

– Water company bosses may soon be looking for another job.

Under plans for nationalisation unveiled by Mr McDonnell, all workers in the private water industry would be transferred to similar roles in the public sector except for senior executives and directors.

Their jobs will be re-advertised at “dramatically reduced” salaries, no more than 20 times those of the lowest paid workers.

John McDonnell was applauded by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn following his speech to conference (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

– Labour has produced a fudge on Brexit, but no-one is quite sure what flavour.

After 100-plus local parties demanded a People’s Vote and 5,000 marched in Liverpool, Labour came up with a motion committing the party to keeping a second referendum “on the table” unless there is an early election.

But divisions quickly emerged about what question would be on the ballot paper, with Mr McDonnell saying it would be a vote on the Brexit deal, while Sir Keir Starmer said that the option of remaining has not been ruled out.

– The row over deselections is not over.

A compromise deal making it easier for constituency parties to remove MPs was passed by conference, reducing the threshold for triggering an open selection contest from 50% to 33% of local party branches or affiliated unions.

But this was not enough for the Corbyn-backing Momentum group, which has been accused of seeking to purge centrist MPs.

Dismissing the reforms as “meagre”, the group said it would continue to campaign for mandatory reselection.

Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey spoke to the Labour conference in Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

– Some delegates are angry about reported plotting of breakaway parties.

Unite union boss Len McCluskey won a standing ovation after sending a message to Chuka Umunna from the conference stage: “Drop the country club plotting. Listen to working people the length and breadth of the country. Get behind the party that made you.”

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph